Tuesday, 10 June 2014

The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey

I have heard of this book for some time and was eager to read it. It did not disappoint me, it is a fantastic book, just my cup of tea! If you love history and murder mysteries this is a book for you. Josephine Tey is a pseudonym for Elizabeth Mackintosh born in 1896 and died in 1952. She is Scottish and wrote mostly mystery novels, but also some plays with a historical theme. Her most famous book is The Daughter of Time which was selected by the British-based Crime Writers' Association as the greatest mystery novel of all time. I can only agree. Her The Franchise Affair ended up on place 11 out of 100.

The story is about Alan Grant, a chief inspector at the Scotland Yard, who after an accident ends up in hospital. He is bedridden for some time and his friends tries to give him books to read to make time go. However, none of the books are to his liking. He is interested in faces. His actor friend Martha gives him pictures of paintings. Going through the paintings he finds one of Richard III (see photo). He sees something in the face and asks different people around him what they see and what they know of the man. Depending on their profession they see different things and most of them say he is the man that murdered the Princes in the Tower. Grant asks himself if this is a face of a murderer.

He becomes interested in the history and asks friends to bring him books. He studies the books and thinks of the disappearance of the Princes as one of his cases. To his aid he finds a young, american history student/researcher. Together they look into old manuscripts, laws, court papers, other documents, and what not, to find the facts. They soon only discover that Richard III could not have had anything to do with the disappearance of the Princes. The most likely culprit is... well, I will let you find out for yourself.

The story is revealed as they study documents, biographies etc. The procedure is the same as if it was a present case. The historical background makes this book so interesting and you really want to read more on these times.

A highly recommended read. Difficult to put down and I almost read it through in a day. I would not mind trying The Franchise Affair as well. Anybody who has read it?

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